We missed the circus tent last year due to the intense heat under canvas, however this wasn’t a problem for the first few days! On Friday we got to spend an hour or so in the circus big top, and on Saturday we watched The Infinite Monkey Cage in the Cabaret tent. Here’s my review of those sorts of acts I saw.
The reason for heading to the big top was Wookey Hole Circus. When we visited Wookey Hole Caves a couple of years ago, we were lucky enough to catch the circus performance and were really impressed. They absolutely surpassed themselves at Glastonbury and it was one of the most impressive acts I’ve seen in that tent over all 13 years we’ve been going. The kids range from 8 ish to 16 ish and were fearless. You might expect a bit of juggling and acrobatics from a kids’ circus, but we’re talking trapeze right in the the roof, amazing tricks with large circular hamster wheel type things along with all the usual circus tricks. Their style and presence was very professional and impressive too.
Unfortunately we were a bit early and caught the end of an act beforehand (listed in the programme as The Great Davido and friends and the Thom Pad Little Big band, but it was just a man and a woman that we saw, so I don’t know if the listing was correct.) They were weird, but not in a good way – more a dull boring way. Glad we didn’t watch it all! Afterwards it was , a glamorous contortionist called Yvette du Sol. The problem with acts like this; it is difficult to make it interesting for long enough. Yes, the way she could move her body was a bit wow, but herself as an act, was a bit flat. And I so so wish she hadn’t started in a long black coat thing, which she suddenly whipped off to reveal a sparkly bra and shorts outfit. It just made the whole thing a bit seedy. Just come out wearing the sparkly combo in the first place.
Then there was a trio act called Mimbre, of very clever balance choreography. I wanted to see them, as they were recommended in the programme, but I was a bit disappointed and bored. The whole thing just needed to be cut down to half the time. Their act is a bit difficult to describe; sort of contemporary dance, but more movement than dance, with a story involving friendship and looking sad a lot when they go their separate ways and then get back together several times. There were some really clever bits and I really wanted to like it more; I just didn’t.
We stayed around to watch a trapeze act by Miss Trixie. Again; disappointed. All she did was swing about a bit, occasionally doing a fancy bit of forward rolls over the bar. The 10 ish year old from Wookey Hole Circus did a better job. You expect better from a professional adult. It’s a shame that the acts aren’t vetted better. If someone walks into the big top and sees one of these poor performers, they may never bother again. I’m sure there are more impressive people available to employ for the circus tent.
The Infinite Monkey Cage at the Cabaret tent was Chris’s only act that he really wanted to see. So we got there half an hour early and were shocked to see the queue to get in was already right out the field, and we joined it adjacent to the West Holts stage. I’m very British about queues and hate it when people push in. When finally we were allowed in the tent, loads of people just walked in without going to the back of the queue, and we must have looked fairly comical running through the heavy sticky mud to make sure we got in. I was so worried we wouldn’t, and unfortunately my daughter didn’t, but we did get in. The first half I could only see the person doing sign language and Billy Bragg, but I could see everyone, including Dr Brian Cox and Robin Ince in the second. They picked a good subject and referred it back to Glastonbury cleverly – catch it on i-player if you weren’t there; it was very funny.